One of the hardest things for a leader to discern is the difference between the development of a trend and a the moving of the Spirit.
When I was in student ministry, we were constantly trying to reinvent ourselves in an attempt to stay ahead of the ever changing curve of the student population. I was directly involved in it for 18 years and saw a significant shift during those times.
Smaller to Larger
I watched the explosion of mega campus groups, primarily in the south, but in places like
The Worship Band
When I started at the
The Kurt Cobain effect
His death, from my perspective, ushered in a season of angst where it became vogue to project little hope. To be positive was to be shallow. To not live in a constant state of questioning meant you weren’t authentic. Candles and couches snuck in during this season. We wanted to be closer to God this way.
Larger to Smaller
Toward the end of my tenure, the glory from the larger groups seemed to fade. Like Moses' diminishing glow beneath the veil, something was changing, and we weren’t really sure why. Do we blame it on God or the generation?
In each of these expressions, I look back and ask myself if I was following and forming a sociological trend, or if I was really in touch with the Spirit of God and what He desired for us. Answer: I may never know.
I see a similar wave building, and look on it differently now as an outsider and not as one shrouded by his culture he has helped create. It is the Inward to Outward display. I predict the next wave is going to move away from the inward, contemplative worship and teaching expression to a more outward focus of social issues and ministry. Could the next “worship band” be the ministry who has the best trips to help Hurricane Ike victims or the coolest soup kitchen outreach?
I don’t mean to sound cynical, but as a watchman I want to recognize what lies in the outer reaches of the landscape. If I am to awaken others to respond to what I see, I don’t want to be guilty of crying “wolf.”